The 3 Decorating Rules of Thumb You Should Know

Answering questions like "how high should I hang that?" and more.


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Decorating your home is both an exciting and daunting endeavor. Especially if you didn't get the chance to grill your favorite interior designer or attend design school, it's easy to feel very lost when decorating. Many people view house decorating in terms of color scheme, furnishing theme, and sizes. However, no matter how well color-coordinated your space is, if your proportions are off, the room will also feel off.

To avoid some of the most common decorating mistakes and to style your home without enlisting the help of a designer, make sure you refer to these three rules of thumb.

joel lassiter

 

Decorating Rule of Thumb #1

Place artwork at eye level

Take note from museums and mount your paintings and wall hangings at eye level. It is a general practice to ensure that your artwork doesn't look too low or too high; plus, it just makes sense. For people to be able to view your curated pieces, you'll want to make it easy on them. Don't make guests strain their necks trying to admire the new print you purchased last week.

Of course, there are a couple details you'll want to keep in mind when adhering to this rule of thumb. Consider whether or not your family is on the short or tall side—it might have a big impact on the height "eye level" lands. To establish a middle ground, try to keep the midpoint of your artwork reaching about 57 to 60 inches from the floor. Shorter house members would appreciate the artwork closer to the 57-inch end. However, if your ceiling is higher than 8 feet, inch the artwork near the 60-inch point.

 

Decorating Rule of Thumb #2

Measure the space before buying an area rug

A while back, we asked textile expert Wesley Mancini for his best tips on buying area rugs, and the verdict on area rugs is that sizes are quite subjective based on the room.

So, for dining rooms, make sure the legs of the dining chairs don't reach past the rug. If they do, the rug is too small. For other rooms, if you're hoping for the rug to cover the majority of the space, measure first to make sure that the rug will be an equal distance away from all sides of the room. But if you want to only highlight specific areas of the room, you can, for example, place a small rug underneath just the coffee table and the sofa.

 

Decorating Rule of Thumb #3

Get the right-size curtain rod

When done right, curtains can make your windows look large and stately. Instead of worrying too much about the size of your window, you'll want to cast your attention to the size of the curtain rod—it's the main factor in creating whatever look you're going for.

The width of the rod should reach three to six inches past the window frame (unless you want cafe curtains, which reside within in the frame). Making sure there's enough room on the sides will allow for a good amount of light to shine through when the curtains are open. As for curtain width: multiply the rod width by 2 to 2.5 to ensure you've got nice gathered curtains even when they're closed.

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Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Charlotte at Home explores the foundations, designs, and details of spaces in and around the Queen City. Style and furniture, porches and plants, urban chic and country casual — you’ll find it here, just swing on by.

About Alyssa Ruane 
Alyssa Ruane is a freelance lifestyle and fashion writer based in Charlotte, NC, though she'll always be a Florida girl at heart. She loves playing soccer and volleyball, and she’s a stickler for clean kitchens. When not writing, she can be found at a brewery, on Twitter (@alyssaruane), or on Twitter at a brewery.

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